WASHINGTON – The State Department on Friday released the first batch of e-mails from former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's private server, shedding light on how political bureaucracies work but revealing nothing new about the deaths of the U.S. ambassador to Libya and three other Americans in a terrorist attack in Benghazi.
The 296 e-mails depict senior Clinton aides and loyalists swapping news articles, passing along morsels of intelligence, crafting strategy and occasionally kissing up to power.
The e-mails did not, however, contain new revelations about the deaths of Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other Americans or the degree to which the State Department was prepared for the attack.
One of the most intriguing of the released e-mails, however, suggests that Clinton and the State Department might not have been kept fully informed on what was known to other government agencies, particularly the CIA, about the Sept. 11, 2012, attack, when armed men stormed the U.S. diplomatic outpost in Benghazi and set the main building on fire.
The initial description of the events as a demonstration that had turned violent had been widely discredited within two weeks. But Clinton still seemed surprised Oct. 19 when she wrote her chief of staff, Cheryl Mills, asking about a news report she had heard that morning on National Public Radio.
"I just heard on npr a report about the CIA station chief in Tripoli sending a cable on 9/12 saying there was no demo, etc. Do you know about this?" Clinton wrote at 6:57 a.m. Mills also seemed surprised. "Have not seen - will see if we can get," she responded 28 minutes later.
A CIA spokesman said Friday he was unable to comment on whether Clinton had been informed of the station chief's e-mail.